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Inside Washington

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Washington 12, Russia 8, Obama 6, Jeff Bezos 5, Benghazi 4, Glenn 3, Freddie Mac 3, Boston 3, Syria 3, Nsa 2, Edward Snowden 2, Freddie 2, John Glenn 2, Clinton 2, Pete Rouse 2, Colby 2, Washington Post 2, Cia 2, Vladimir Putin 2, Osama Bin 2,
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  WETA    Inside Washington    News/Business. Round-table  
   discussions feature journalists. (CC) (Stereo)  

    August 9, 2013
    8:30 - 9:00pm EDT  

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>> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment, food, clothing, shelter? we do. early night is. -- growing ideas. >> the grahams are like an institution in washington. it was an absolute shock.
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>> this week on "inside washington" -- the shocker, "the washington post" sold. another victim of the changing media universe. >> i do not subscribe to anything anymore. i read everything online. >> president obama cancels a summit with vladimir putin. >> there have been times they slide back into cold war thinking. >> a terror threat closes u.s. embassies. >> this group is fairly ingenious, bold and eager to cause damage. >> the president targets fannie mae and freddie mac. also, hillary, the documentary, the miniseries, and reince priebus, the angry chairman. >> i will not expose our candidates to this kind of treatment. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
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>> the name of the program is "inside washington" and if there is a bigger story in washington than the sale of "the washington post," i cannot think of one. we have colby king, lois romano, a "the washington post" veteran. charles krauthammer.part of the "washington post" writers group. i came to washington to work for broadcast properties, which were owned by "the washington post." glenn, "the washington post." [laughter] the former executive editor len downie was in the newsroom as katharine graham's granddaughter announced jeff bezos, the founder of amazon, was buying the paper. >> she read a statement in which she made clear he strongly subscribes to the journalistic values of "the washington post." that, for me, of course, is the most important thing.
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>> let's take off the pundit hats. give me your personal reaction. lois, you wrote a fine piece for "politico." >> thank you. my first reaction was shock. i was home, working. i got in the car, and went back to the office. it was a little bit of sadness, and then i thought maybe this is a good thing. they have tried everything. maybe the model needs to be blown up and maybe jeff bezos will bring a fresh eye. >> colby, who would have thought the grahams would give up the newspaper? >> i was the last person to think that. this is the second time "the washington post" rocked my world world -- the first time was in march, 1954, when i reported to duty to deliver the newspaper and saw "the times herald" had been sold. this one was a shocker because of the presence of absentee ownership. the graham family is such an institution, going far beyond the newspaper. the interest in the city was deeper than that. >> charles? >> if you asked anyone who works
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for "the post" or lives in this town, what is the least likely event that would happen in this life, it would be that they would sell the newspaper, but the best explanation was from one of the people that worked at "the washington post," who said paper, don graham loved the so much that he wanted not to love it to death. >> what does it tell you about the future of newspapers? >> i have a unique perspective. i worked for my hometown paper for years. it was passed around like an el camino. i have been down this road. in terms of the constellation of potential owners and the understanding of the marketplace, jeff bezos is about as good as you can get, but i will tell you it is a total wild
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card. you never know what will happen. >> here is a line that i love -- "i love the smell of newsprint in the morning and my favorite time of day is 30 minutes till deadline." that is from dave kindred's book on "the post," in a story about bob kaizer, which he says "we can sell an entire electronic post for several times the newsstand price without using an ounce of ink." kindred tells that steve coll, 11 years later, they have a retreat on the eastern shore and he has a proposal for "the post" to put their arms around the internet and nothing happens. the line was in 2003 "washingtonpost.com still came off as your grandpa's newspaper taped to the computer screen."
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that has changed, colby. >> it has changed, but it took a long time to get there. i have, from my place in i had an outbreak, nonelectric royal -- upright, nonelectric royal typewriter. that was the means by which we communicated to the public good today -- public. today, we have this which allows us to speak to everyone around the globe, take pictures instantaneously, and create newsprint that is filed within seconds. newspapers are not obsolete, but they have to change the way in which they deliver information to people. tastes have changed. some people do not read comics anymore. your publication does not even produce comics.
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>> we have a pulitzer prize winning cartoonist. >> we get our comics from fox news and msnbc. >> ok, i remember in the last edition of "the rocky news" -- "goodbye, colorado." is that the future? >> it is not the future of "the post" as we know it on the newsstand. the post will be there, i suspect, from the kind of owner it will have, but it will have a different kind of market. the brand might be there, but the product will be much different. >> i think they will still have a newspaper. it will be much different, smaller. what jeff bezos will do is try to figure out -- he has a plan, by the way. he went away for three months and came back to buy it, so he has a plan. he will try to figure out how to fully digitize it. one problem they have had is the demographics. they have not been able to get out of the older demographics and that is what jeff bezos
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could bring in a big way. >> the purchase comes after they made significant newsroom changes, investing god knows how much money in this new kind of online video project with this in-house tv station. there have been staff reductions. to a certain extent, they are buying a paper that have made transformations. >> charles? >> in regards to whether we will have a paper in hand, the new owner said papers will not exist as papers in 20 years, i remember, this is a guy in amazon that sells things. he is not selling air or dots on the screen. he sells things that arrive at your door. he will probably try to sell the
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paper as a paper, but the one problem is i do not know anyone in my son's generation that reads and holds a newspaper, or even a magazine. that, i think, is simply a habit, generational, that i do not know how you can re-create. if that generation has never done that, they are not going to. >> it is not just his generation. i was in the barbershop a couple of days ago, as you can see, and there was a tv on, but all of the customers were reading, not newspapers, but working with their smartphones. >> i get "the times" and "the post" delivered, and i do not read it. i give it to my kids and they take it to summer camp. i use my subscription to access the digital stuff. >> the "times" has sold "the boston globe" to the owner of the boston red sox. how would you like to be a sports writer in boston? >> they are paying players more than that. >> threats that trigger shutdowns of embassies. next.
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>> we are accomplishing what we set out to do. because of you, osama bin laden is no more. [applause] because of you, al qaeda's top ranks have been hammered. the core of al qaeda in afghanistan and pakistan is on the way to defeat. >> president obama with the marines this week. osama bin laden is gone, but his number two man is still around, and so is his personal assistant, who has planned an attack on american targets, leading to the closing of 19 embassies and the state department has ordered nonessential staff to leave the u.s. consulate and issued a travel warning. colby, the game is not over. >> the game is not over and it raises questions about the information that led to the decision and how we got it. it goes back to the mega-data that has been gathered. does it suggest there is value
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in what they have done? the activity that we have been reading about -- there is fruit from it that allows them to take the action they have taken? the threat has not gone away. >> how about this -- we do not want another benghazi? is that the message? >> it is clear part of the motivation was because of benghazi, the embarrassment, the fact the story will not go away and we do not have explanations as to why the warnings were ignored, etc., but there is a larger problem in that al qaeda has metastasized, and in this administration, what has been overlooked is we are relying 100% on signal intelligence because we do not have human intelligence because this administration, in a fit of righteousness, declared at the very beginning, when obama was sworn in, they would abolish all
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of that nasty stuff -- those interrogations, and the reason that we kill everyone with a drone is because if you capture a terrorist, you have nowhere to put him, no way to interrogate. in the absence of that, we rely entirely on signal and it leaves a lot of gaps. >> one of the reasons the benghazi thing happened was because it was essentially a cia station and apparently there was a glut of 41, 42 -- i have heard different numbers -- of cia operatives looking to get out of dodge. what i think is funny is for all of this talk about a sophisticated dragnet with the nsa, the reason we got this is because al qaeda held a conference call. [laughter] please press mute. >> you have to be listening to get it, collecting information. >> i agree, a lot of it has been driven by not needing another benghazi on their handsand also the president pulled back,
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saying we do not want to be perpetually at war. well, we will be perpetually at war. >> charles mentioned in sa. -- the nsa. now that vladimir putin has granted asylum, the president says we will not have a meeting. what is your take? >> this is a collapse of the reset. obama came into office saying that relations with russia had been allowed to drift. under the bush administration -- and find that it was our fault. he was going to warm them up. he caved on missile defense in europe. he thought he would get cooperation on iraq, syria, arms control, and he has been stymied and humiliated every time. this was the final straw. it was a gratuitous poke in the eye, and he finally had to show some gumption in canceling that. he is still showing up in russia for the g-20 conference.
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he should have stayed home. >> he had no choice. he could not go, and edward snowden gave him the opening to do it, but as charles says, there are bigger issues -- arming syria -- everything is blowing up. to go would make him look weak. to me it was putin. >> i agree. why did it take the white house two or three weeks to make this decision? they could have done it days earlier, at least at the beginning of the week. it is hard to figure out. >> beyond edward snowden, the other issues that charles mentioned, i agree. i do not know why he is stepping foot on russian soil. the g-20 is not that significant. >> i am confused about the legal situation in russia. putin has been talking about opening up the gulags. if you are successful businessmen, you end up in a gulags. i do not know how that works. >> they put so many in the gulags, the economy is collapsing, so they will need to
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let some of to do what they were doing before, and hopefully they will not doing as badly. they have to do something because they are taking too many from the private sector into public jails. >> it is an interesting way of governing when it comes to free enterprise. whether it's free or not, is a different question. >> you have to remember who vladimir putin is -- a kgb guy, not warm and cuddly, not a community organizer. [laughter] in the clip you showed, it said putin slips into cold war meant into cold war mentality. he does not understand he is a russian nationalist. he pines for the cold war. he has said the collapse of the soviet union was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century.
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think about all the other stuff. he is a russian nationalist. at the cold war is one russia was at its greatest and peter the great. he wants the empire. he wants the colonies in the third world. obama imagines this is nostalgia by a guy who does not understand the real issues are childhood obesity and global warning. >> didn't president obama's predecessor look into vladimir putin's heart? >> he got it wrong, but he does not see a country's warning us at every turn.it is a big difference. >> glenn? >> i looked into charles soul and saw the same thing. >> you realized you got it wrong. >> the notion that parole is stimulus -- i think we tried that in brooklyn wants. >> the more we talk about this, it becomes apparent in ministration made the right decision -- the administration made the right decision -- these men have nothing to talk about. >> how do you deal with a country led by a guy like that?
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there is a lot of internal dissent. >> i do not think this is one of those things you can finesse. russia is to interval to the problems that we are facing the world -- north korea, no help. syria, obstruction. iran, obstruction. on international trade, no help. no help on nuclear nonproliferation. we have to face up to the fact that this is a real problem and it will have to be game on. vladimir putin's take on obama is dangerous. i think is reading a weakness that is allowing him to be very aggressive and if obama does not stand up and push back, the other countries will also take a message from this. it is very important that the
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united states, in this question with russia, demonstrates it is the stronger power. >> he is not only weak, but naive. i can imagine latimer putin saying who is this guy, he is a lightweight. remember, the reset was appeasement. the cold war was our fault, when in fact it was a result of russia war on georgia.obama has offered all kinds of goodies. bush might have misread, but did not give away the missile defense as obama did, and that is appeasement. that is a big difference. >> the key issue going forward that i have heard from the administration is keeping russia and china from collaborating deeply. >> why shouldn't they? america is so weak. why should they not collaborate, as they have against american interests? >> fannie mae and freddie mac on the way out? we will see.
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>> for too long, these companies were able to make that knowing that if they went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag. >> the president imposed restructuring, proposed restructuring.fading out fannie mae and freddie mac. housing is doing well. fannie and freddie is profitable. as of next month, they will have paid back about 146 billion of government loans.>> the president was disingenuous there. these folks made all of these this money. we encourage them to do that. they were pushed to do it. they pushed the money out the door to do it. barney frank, god bless him, they were the ones that pushed fannie mae and freddie mac to do this.
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>> they backed 90% of new mortgages? >> that they should not have. they were buying this stuff up. >> what happens if they go away, fannie mae and freddie mac? >> they should. >> what if they do? >> the problem is they will have to phase of government support, but there is always a trick. here were entities that have the implicit guarantee of the government, never explicit, but of course implicit enough that in the end when they went bust every penny was reimbursed. there is no reason that the government should be in the business. canada does not even have a deduction for mortgages and it did not have a financial collapse. government always has wonderful goals encouraging homeownership. it is a lovely thing, but it distorts the market and sets us
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up for bubble after bubble. >> talking about bubble after bubble, the thing that chilled my blood was the housing crisis in nevada and arizona, 35%. the current hud secretary, shaun donovan, had in a previous life, been an advocate for talking about rentals -- subsidizing or creating situations for rentals in cities to be more affordable. thisconversation is over and white house is reorienting to the same thing bill clinton did, which is homeownership. >> that is the contrary. in the speech that obama gave, he is talking up rentals. >> no money behind it -- waiting list. >> the idea is they will do with fannie mae and freddie mac paying the money back, take the money and put it into these rental programs. i think that is a mistake. homeownership still has value. >> it is almost everybody's
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goal.lois? >> we are all in agreement that we should get rid of these agencies, but this will be hard to do. they back what -- 80%, 90% of you have toe market? get agreement on alternative measures. >> sell them to amazon. >> i read that senator mitch mcconnell's campaign manager said he took the job holding his nose because he thought it would help rand paul.the 2016 presidential bid. glenn, this is not helpful. >> you could make the ads for the democrats, and it involves a lot of fingers pinching noses. >> that is wrong -- what is wrong with nsa snooping. >> he is the only campaign manager in the world that could say this and not get fired. >> colby?
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it -- ok..ok here [laughter] all right. peter rouse leaving the white house. he will leave a big hole there. >> there are a lot of big holes. we have lost a lot of big players. you see the tumbleweeds rolling by. pete rouse is a big part of his success. he was his first chief of staff. the question is not when pete rouse is leaving. he is 67 years old. he has been in government for larger decades. who will replace him? >> why is the republican chairman steaming? >> if you move forward, we are done. we are done playing inthe sandbox, through the song and dance as if everything were hunky-dory. it is not. >> here is what the republican chairman is angry about. nbc is running a four-part miniseries on hillary clinton. cnn is also planning a documentary. reince priebus argues they are
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nothing more than campaign ads, and free ones at that. free ones at that, glenn. >> the interesting thing is reince priebus will likely not be around for the party in 2016, but what he is doing is everything he can to degrade her image, get in early, so it is ok to criticize hillary clinton again, who is arguably the most popular political figure. >> do they not have a point? >> these lines are getting todd had ank objection to it. this is not a criticism that is serious. maybe this is an idea republicans have of cutting down the debates. >> i do not think they will tremble about an absence of debates. it is a marker of a much more serious issue.
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the bias of the media is so obvious that it is not worth discussing here it it is like the -- discussing. it is like the sun rising in the east. this is like jumping the shark. it is shark week. you will have networks -- four hours on a network and expect people will say this is an historical document? of course it is to pump her up. it reflects the bubble these people live in. >> i like diane lane. if she were playing anybody, i would like to watch her, but i remember when john glenn entered the democratic primary, they came up with the movie "the right stuff," and they montel a walter mondale operative said it is all over for us. what happened to john glenn? nothing.
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>> he went up in space again. >> yeah, but he could not get to the primaries. that will not change the political landscape. >> i do not think the thing will get made. the documentary will, because they are made on candidates all of the time. so what? i think there is a lot of pressure from the news side, and my guess is they pull the plug on the miniseries. >> having been trapped in the hillary vortex for three years, to my family's great detriment, i can say this is part where they are building her up, then they are tearing her down. >> they'll be coming up. you get the last word, glenn. thank you. see you next week.♪ vo:geico, committed to providing service to
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